In Florida, the St. Petersburg Museum of History displays a replica of the Benoist XIV airboat used for the first scheduled airline service, which operated nearby.
On January 1, 1914, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line began flying across Tampa Bay.
The flight covered 18 miles and 23 minutes. That journey was 11 hours faster than making the trip between St. Petersburg and Tampa by rail.
(Courtesy Smithsonian Institution)
That plane is just one of the treasures we spotted at the museum when we visited. The museum is home to the largest collection of signed baseballs: 5,036 and still growing; a great exhibit about the artists known as the “Florida Highwaymen,” a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, artifacts from Webb’s City – a local roadside attraction – and much more.
Events begin Saturday morning with 50th-anniversary giveaways including a special limited edition Coca-Cola bottle, selfie stations, and surprise performances in select terminals during the day.
Passengers arriving on AA Flight 3589 from Little Rock, Ark., will receive a special water arch celebration and greeting at the gate in honor of the first flight to arrive at DFW from the city in 1974.
Then, on Saturday night, buildings in both Dallas and Fort Worth will be lit with DFW Airport’s primary brand color – orange – to commemorate the airport’s golden anniversary. This includes the Omni Dallas Downtown, Bank of America Plaza, One Arts Plaza, KPMG Plaza, AT&T Headquarters and Discovery District, Hunt Building, 1900 Pearl Street, 1900 N. Akard Street and Reunion Tower in Dallas, and City Hall and the 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth.
While we wait for more details about what other anniversary surprises will roll out the rest of the year, here are some photos and history about the airport, courtesy of DFW and the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
Here’s a shot of Braniff Jets lined up at DFW in the late 1970s.
THEN AND NOW
World’s largest airport by land area
Third largest airport by land area
Five terminals (sixth to break ground in 2024)
6.8 million passengers
80 million passengers (estimated)
75,000 tons of cargo
791,192 tons of cargo (FY)
More tidbits about DFW Airport
DFW was the first US Airport to be visited by the supersonic Concorde
Courtesy Frontiers of Flight Museum
On September 20, 1973, the first day of a four-day dedication ceremony that took place before DFW officially started commercial operations in January 1974, the airport welcomed a supersonic British Airways/Air France Concorde. Two days later, on September 22, 1973, tens of thousands of people attended a dedication ceremony that included an air show and exhibits.
The DFW dig
(Courtesy Frontiers of Flight Museum)
During the DFW excavation, workers uncovered an almost complete fossil of a 70-million-year-old plesiosaur, a 25-foot-long reptile that lived in the ocean during the time of dinosaurs. For a while, the fossil was displayed in Braniff’s Terminal 2W (now Terminal B), but today, DFW’s plesiosaur is locked away in storage at an area university.
For more great photos and stories about Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, see Bruce Bleakley’s book published on DFW’s 40th anniversary. It’s chock full of photos, appropriately titled Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Aviation series.
We’ll be back with more finds, but we wanted to share this short video we found presented by the former director of the DFW Records Department. The video shows some treasures in the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport archives, including the pre-computer drafting tools used to design the airport and the dinosaur bones found onsite.
They are easy to miss as you cross the pedestrian bridge connecting the main campus of Seattle’s sprawling Museum of Flight to the museum’s Space Gallery and Aviation Pavilion across the street.
But as part of the delightfulArt+Flightexhibit currently underway at Seattle’s Museum of Flight, there is a display of charming motivational posters created for the Boeing Model 2707, a supersonic transport (SST) aircraft developed in the 1960s to compete with the British and French Concorde.
Boeing had a government contract to develop and build the supersonic airliner, but the contract was canceled in 1971 before the prototypes were even completed.
These posters are from the archives of the Museum of Flight, which says all it really knows about them is that they were made as motivational posters for employees working on the 2707 SST program during the 1960s. The colors and imagery clearly take influences from the pop art of the time. And the messages and slogans are all about making the plane as light as can be.
Images are courtesy of Seattle Museum of Flight’s Holden Withington Boeing SST Poster Collection and the Clarence S Howell Collection of Boeing SST Posters